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45 Intriguing Quotes by Emily Dickinson

Last updated on Dec 17th, 2018

45 Intriguing Quotes by Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (born December 10, 1830, Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S. – died May 15, 1886, Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.) is one of the most original and influential poets. With Walt Whitman, she is widely considered to be one of the leading American poets of the 19th century.

Dickinson spent most of her life in isolation on the family homestead. She is known for her unique style and innovative use of form and syntax for the era in which she wrote. Many of her poems as central themes use death and immortality. Although she was a very prolific poet and regularly sent poems to her friends and correspondents, she was unrecognized in her own time. Only a small number of nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.

The first volume of her poetry was published in 1890 by Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. A full compilation and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry, The Poems of Emily Dickinson by Thomas H. Johnson became available in 1955.

1
That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
Poem 1741: That it will never come again
2
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
Poem 1732: Parting is all we know of heaven
3
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
Poem 919: If I can stop one Heart from breaking
4
My friends are my estate. Forgive me then the avarice to hoard them!Letter to Mr. Samuel Bowles (Late August, 1858?)
Forever — is composed of Nows. - Emily Dickinson Quotes
5
Forever — is composed of Nows.Poem 624: Forever — is composed of Nows —
6
Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (August, 1870)
7
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Poem 67: Success is counted sweetest
8
Saying nothing, sometimes says the Most.Letter to Mrs. Joseph A. Sweetser (late January, 1874)
9
I dwell in Possibility —Poem 657: I dwell in Possibility —
"Hope" is the thing with feathers — That perches in the soul — And sings the tune without the words — And never stops — at all — - Emily Dickinson Quotes
10
“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words —
And never stops — at all —
Poem 254: Hope is the thing with feathers —
11
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry —
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without opress of Toll —
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul
Poem 1263: There is no Frigate like a Book
12
Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Poem 1659: Fame is a fickle food
13
Because I could not stop for Death —
He kindly stopped for me —
The Carriage held but just Ourselves —
And Immortality.
Poem 712: Because I could not stop for Death —
14
Luck is not chance —
It’s Toil —
Fortune’s expensive smile
Is earned —
Poem 1350: Luck is not chance —
A word is dead When it is said, Some say. I say it just Begins to live That day. - Emily Dickinson Quotes
15
A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.Poem 1212: A word is dead

16
Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality
Poem 809: Unable are the Loved to die
17
[Dogs] They are better than beings because they know, but do not tell.Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (April 26, 1862)
18
Where Thou art — that — is Home —Poem 725: Where Thou art — that — is Home —
19
Best Grief is Tongueless — before He’ll tell —
Burn Him in the Public Square —
Poem 793: Grief is a Mouse —
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant — - Emily Dickinson Quotes
20
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —Poem 1129: Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
21
A wounded Deer — leaps highest —Poem 165: A wounded Deer - leaps highest -
22
Beauty — be not caused — It Is —Poem 516: Beauty — be not caused — It Is —
23
Dying is a wild Night and a new Road.Letter to Perez Cowan (October, 1869)
24
Love — is anterior to Life —
Posterior — to Death —
Initial of Creation, and
The Exponent of Earth —
Poem 917: Love — is anterior to Life —
The Soul selects her own Society — Then — shuts the Door — To her divine Majority — Present no more — - Emily Dickinson Quotes
25
The Soul selects her own Society —
Then — shuts the Door —
To her divine Majority —
Present no more —
Poem 303: The Soul selects her own Society —
26
Finite — to fail, but infinite to Venture —Poem 847: Finite — to fail, but infinite to Venture —
27
If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (August, 1870)
28
In such a porcelain life, one likes to be sure that all is well, lest one stumble upon one’s hopes in a pile of broken crockery.Letter to Mr. Samuel Bowles (late August 1858?)
29
I argue thee
That love is life —
And life hath Immortality —
Poem 549: That I shall love alway —
Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it. - Emily Dickinson Quotes
30
Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it.Letter to Louise and Frances Norcross (late April, 1873)
31
Nature is a haunted house — but Art — a House that tries to be haunted.Letter to T. W. Higginson (1876)
32
Even the possible has its insoluble particle.Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (September 26, 1870)
33
“Faith” is a fine invention
For Gentlemen who see!
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
Poem 185: Faith is a fine invention
34
To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations.Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Late, 1872)
One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted — One need not be a House — The Brain has Corridors — surpassing Material Place — - Emily Dickinson Quotes
35
One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted —
One need not be a House —
The Brain has Corridors — surpassing
Material Place —
Poem 670: One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted —
36
Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.
Poem 976: Death is a Dialogue between
37
Enough is so vast a sweetness, I suppose it never occurs, only pathetic counterfeits.Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (September 26, 1870)
38
Ourself behind ourself, concealed —
Should startle most —
Assassin hid in our Apartment
Be Horror’s least.
Poem 670: One need not be a Chamber — to be Haunted —
39
Who has not found the Heaven — below —
Will fail of it above —
Poem 1544: Who has not found the Heaven — below —
The brain — is wider than the Sky. - Emily Dickinson Quotes
40
The brain — is wider than the Sky.Poem 632: The brain — is wider than the Sky
41
Shame need not crouch
In such an Earth as Ours —
Shame — stand erect —
The Universe is yours.
Poem 1304: Not with a Club, the Heart is broken
42
Portraits are to daily faces
As an Evening West,
To a fine, pedantic sunshine —
In a satin Vest!
Poem 170: Portraits are to daily faces
43
How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!Letter to Mrs. F.S. Cooper (1877)
44
Witchcraft was hung, in History,
But History and I
Find all the Witchcraft that we need
Around us, every Day —
Poem 1583: Witchcraft was hung, in History
I find ecstasy in living; the mere sense of living is joy enough. - Emily Dickinson Quotes
45
I find ecstasy in living; the mere sense of living is joy enough.Letter to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (August, 1870)